THOUSANDS of people have converged on Edinburgh for the second weekend of the Fringe Festival, despite bad weather.

Among those wowing the crowds at the largest arts festival in the world was the award-winning New Zealand-based performance artist Salon Mika, who has returned to Scotland's capital after an absence of more than 10 years.

Salon Mika who brought his show to Dance Base, the national centre for dance, is one of an international cross-section of dancers who are coming together as part of the Grassmarket venue's Fringe dance programme. The dancers are offering a preview of different dance styles from all over the globe.

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The 67th year of the Fringe provides the biggest and most vibrant line-up to date comprising some 3,193 shows, 11 per cent more than last year across 299 venues, 26 more than in 2013.

Comedy remains the biggest attraction at the Fringe, making up 34 per cent of the shows, up 1 per cent from 2013, while theatre performances make up 28 per cent of the programme. Music makes up 13 per cent, while 5 per cent of performances are children's shows.

The number of spoken word performances has doubled, making up 4 per cent of the Fringe's menu, up from 2 per cent in 2013.

There are 825 free shows, 1,789 premieres and 47 different countries represented.

The theme of this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, which launched on Saturday, is Let's Talk and yesterday that is exactly what acclaimed indie singer-songwriter Aidan Moffat, one half of the band Arab Strap, did about his first book. The Lavender Blue Dress tells the story, in rhyme, of Mabel, a little girl who wants nothing more than a beautiful dress to wear to the Christmas ball.

Today Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond is due to be "in conversation" with Sir Tom Devine, the retiring Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh and author of books, including The Scottish Nation and Scotland's Empire. They are due to discuss Scotland's long journey towards the independence referendum and what might happen after September 18.